How can a landlord stay on top of rental regulations? It can be extremely nerve-wracking when you are not sure if your home will pass an upcoming inspection. Even worse, if you accidentally infringe on a tenant’s rights under the law, you could be leaving yourself exposed to a lawsuit. Using simple techniques such as scheduling and research can greatly reduce your potential liability.
Step one for any landlord, experienced or newbie, would be to find your state’s literature on Landlord-Tenant laws. In some states that may be an actual Landlord-Tenant Act, like in Virginia. In other places, it can simply be a group of laws designed to protect both parties in tenancy situations. Many times official PDFs of these documents are available online. We have a copy available at http://www.rentgrandin.com/tenants. Download the information, save it and read it front to back. You may also be able to obtain these documents from your local municipality, court system, or town hall. Being intimately aware of the laws surrounding tenancy is crucial to protecting yourself. More so, you must understand what these regulations mean as it applies to you, your rental asset, and your communications with your tenant.
For example, here is a heading section from the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Act concerning repairs and emergencies.
§ 55-248.32. Remedy by repair, etc.; emergencies.
If there is a violation by the tenant of § 55-248.16 or the rental agreement materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item or cleaning, the landlord shall send a written notice to the tenant specifying the breach and stating that the landlord will enter the dwelling unit and perform the work in a workmanlike manner, and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost therefor to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment. In case of emergency the landlord may, as promptly as conditions require, enter the dwelling unit, perform the work in a workmanlike manner, and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost therefor to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment. The landlord may